Dominos Pizza Crusts: Better Ingredients or Unhealthy Options?

Have you seen the Dominos commercial? You know the one where a group of individuals is sitting in a conference room discussing the ingredients in a Domino’s Pizza. Don’t know what I am talking about? The ad goes something like this:

“Dominos doesn’t want me to know what’s really in their ingredients because it’s probably not real cheese!” “Does anyone know if they use 100% real milk in their cheese?” All of the sudden the conference room opens up, and this group find themselves smack in the middle of a dairy farm, and they learn that Dominos cheese comes from real milk.

The ad goes on to say, “Taste the truth.” “See where our ingredients really come from.” Which got me thinking, what is really in their crusts?

On Domino’s website you can find the ingredients list for their five fresh crusts, but how much do you really know about these ingredients? How healthy are these five fresh crusts? This list of ingredients looks healthy, but let’s dig a little deeper.

Dominos Pizza Crusts: Ingredients List

From the Dominos website: “Keep reading. We’re about to divulge our oldest secret to success and the key to a delicious meal: Really good ingredients.”

BROOKLYN Crust

Contains: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, Riboflavin, Folic Acid) Water, Vegetable Oil (Soybean), Sugar, Salt, Yeast, Vital Wheat Gluten, Less than 1% Dough Conditioners [Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Whey, Enzyme (with Wheat Starch), Ascorbic Acid, L-cysteine, and Silicon Dioxide added as processing aid], Corn Meal (used in preparation).

Allergens: Milk, Wheat

HANDMADE PAN CRUST

Contains: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Butter Flavored White Shortening Flake (Palm Oil, Natural Butter Flavor, and Soy Lecithin), Vegetable Oil (Soybean Oil, Citric Acid), Sugar, Salt, Less than 1% Dough Conditioners (Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Whey, Enzyme [with Wheat Starch], Ascorbic Acid, L-cysteine, with Silicon Dioxide added as processing aids), Yeast (Yeast, Sorbitan Monostearate, Ascorbic Acid)

Allergens: Milk, Wheat, Soy

HAND TOSSED CRUST

Contains: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, Riboflavin, Folic Acid) Water, Vegetable Oil (Soybean), Sugar, Salt, Yeast, Vital Wheat Gluten, Less than 1% Dough Conditioners [Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Whey, Enzyme (with Wheat Starch), Ascorbic Acid, L-cysteine, and Silicon Dioxide added as processing aid], Corn Meal (used in preparation).

Allergens: Milk, Wheat

THIN CRUST

Contains: Flour (Wheat, Malted Barley), Water, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Salt, Dextrose, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Calcium Propionate (Preservative).

Allergens: Soy, Wheat

GLUTEN FREE CRUST

Contains: Water, Modified Rice Starch, Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Olive Oil, Potato Flour, Evaporated Cane Sugar, Fresh Yeast, Honey, Avicel, Salt, Calcium Propionate.

Allergens: None

A Deeper Look At Dominos “Natural” Ingredients

How natural are “Nature’s tasty little building blocks?” Here are some of the ingredients found in the Five Fresh Crusts:

*Special attention should be given if you fall into one of the ‘avoid’ categories. You may want to consider avoiding the ingredient.

Enriched Flour

During the enriching process flour is stripped of both bran and germ, valuable nutrients are removed and then added back in. Additives added back into the dough not only preserve the dough’s shelf life, but also protect the dough from being eaten by bugs.

Enriched flours contain less fiber and have less nutritional value than their whole wheat counterpart. Enriched flour enters the bloodstream at a quicker rate which causes a rise in blood sugar levels.

Avoid:

  • Diabetic
  • Gluten Allergy
  • Wheat Allergy

Vital Wheat Gluten

A powdered gluten derived from wheat which has had both its starch and bran removed. Used as a binding agent in pizza dough to improve the chewiness of the dough, its texture and rising ability. A lower quality and more cost effective product can be made from vital wheat gluten.

When consuming a product that contains vital wheat gluten, it is best to be aware of the other ingredients. The combination of other additives and ingredients are more than likely to contain higher amounts of sodium and MSG. To give you an example, vital wheat gluten can be found in imitation beef, chicken, fish, duck, soy hot dogs, turkey, and faux meat, including nuggets.

Avoid:

  • Celiac Disease
  • Gluten Allergy
  • Wheat Allergy

Less than 1% Dough Conditioners

Are added to the bread dough and act as an emulsifying agent to help improve the final product, in this case the pizza crust. The conditioner can be a chemical or an ingredient added to the pizza dough. The conditioner distributes fat through the dough which assists in trapping carbon dioxide to help improve the final product, in this case the pizza crust.

Conditioners in the dough can include ascorbic acid, monoglycerides and diglycerides, ammonium chloride, enzymes, DATEM and calcium salts.

*DATEM (diacetyl tartaric and fatty esters of mono and diglycerides), known as trans fat.

Avoid:

  • Gluten Allergy
  • Heart Conditions

Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (SSL)

This additive is made by a series of chemical reactions and is used in small quantities as a thickening agent in the bread dough. Because it is used in such small quantities, it is a safe ingredient.

Avoid:

  • Heart Conditions

Ascorbic Acid

(Vitamin C) An additive that is synthetically produced from a form of sugar known as glucose. Ascorbic acid is used as a preservative to keep the color and flavor from changing in the pizza dough and works as a stabilizer to strengthen the pizza dough.

Avoid:

  • Corn Allergy

L-cysteine

Considered a non-essential amino acid, but in this case is artificially reproduced through hydrolysis, approximately 80% of this additive is commonly derived from duck feathers.
It is used for flavoring and the processing of baked goods, in this case pizza dough.

Avoid:

  • Halal
  • Kosher

Silicon Dioxide added as a processing aid

The main chemical compound of sand which and is used as a processing aid to absorb water and to prevent the dough from clumping. Silicon Dioxide is considered safe by the FDA if it does not exceed two percent of the pizza dough’s total weight.

Avoid:

  • None

Corn Meal (used in preparation)

Made from ground dried corn, depending where the corn is derived it most likely contains GMO’s. Approximately 86% of U.S. corn crops have been genetically modified to resist herbicides. Recent studies have been unfavorable for consuming GMO’s and have been linked to cause organ damage in rats. If GMO’s are a concern for you, look for products that state they come from a non-GMO source.

Corn meal can be a nutritious additive when added to bread. Corn meal can also be found in less nutritious foods such as sugary snacks, and it is widely used for the coating of corn dogs. In this case, corn meal is added to pizza dough to prevent the bread from sticking to the pan.

Avoid:

  • Corn Allergy

Butter Flavored White Shortening Flake

Not only adds pliability to the pizza dough, it also enhances the flavor of the dough. Shortening flake itself has no flavor, but contributes to the pizza crusts flakiness. The flakiness of the crust is dependent upon what type of fat is used in the processing.

The butter flavoring is produced by a hydrogenated shortening oil which is more than likely derived from fat and water during the development of gluten.

Avoid:

  • Gluten Allergy
  • Heart Condition
  • Milk Allergy
  • Vegan

Palm Oil

In this case, palm oil may be one of the fats added to enhance the texture of the pizza dough. Palm oil contains fifty percent saturated fat, thirty nine percent monounsaturated fat and approximately eleven percent polyunsaturated fat; overconsumption of this fat has been linked to both an increase in heart disease and renal failure.

Avoid:

  • Heart Condition

Natural Butter Flavor

Can be made by a number of chemical combinations. One of the most commonly used chemical combinations to make butter flavoring is acetoin and diacetyl. Diacetyl is made from fermented yeast. It adds an additional buttery flavor to the pizza dough.

Avoid:

  • Heart Condition
  • Milk Allergy
  • Vegan

Soy Lecithin

Produced from soy beans, soy lecithin is another fat that can be used as an emulsifying and stabilizing agent in the pizza dough. It is a commonly used by-product that has been extracted from the soybean by a mechanical or chemical process using hexane. After it has been removed by harsh chemicals, the waste then goes through a bleaching process to become soy lecithin.

Soybeans themselves are considered a cheap crop which makes them an inexpensive emulsifier and can be used as an additive in the dough. Unless the product states it is certified non-GMO, the soybeans are more than likely genetically modified.

Avoid:

  • Heart Condition
  • Soy Allergy

Vegetable Oil

Provides a base ingredient for the flavors in the dough and keeps the pizza dough from sticking together. Vegetable oils contain the same chemical compounds as vegetable fats including free fatty acids, diglycerides, monoglycerides and unsaponified lipids.

Avoid:

  • Heart Conditions

Soybean Oil

Commonly used in pizza dough because it produces a large quantity for minimal expense. Soybean oil is petroleum derived from the soy plant. Vegetable oils that have been derived from soy are higher in Omega Poly Unsaturated fats which have been linked to plaque build up on the artery walls and other serious health conditions.

Avoid:

  • Heart Condition
  • Soy Allergy

Yeast

Is used in the dough as a rising agent and is not harmful unless an individual has an intolerance to yeast.

Avoid:

  • Yeast Allergy

Sorbitan Monostearate

A synthetic additive used in pizza dough as an emulsifier.

Avoid:

  • Corn Allergy

Malted Barley

Malting transforms a grains starch into enzymes and sugars. Barley itself contains gluten protein.

Avoid:

  • Celiac Disease
  • Diabetic
  • Gluten Allergy

Dextrose

A simple sugar used as an additive in the dough to enhance its sweetness. Simple sugar causes the blood to become acidic which can lead to health risks including hardening of the arteries, and optimal conditions for cancer growth. The enzymes that are used to produce dextrose can come from animal sources.

Avoid:

  • Corn Allergy
  • Diabetic
  • Vegan

Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate

Contains a high sodium content and is used in pizza crust as a leavening agent to speed up the fermentation process.

Avoid:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Condition
  • Pregnant

Corn Starch

Derived from the endosperm of the corn kernel, the corn crop itself was more than likely derived from a GMO source of corn. The starch is used as a thickening agent in the pizza dough.

Avoid:

  • Corn Allergy
  • Diabetic

Calcium Propionate (Preservative)

Used as preservative in pizza dough to inhibit the growth of mold. Calcium propionate is chemically produced by combining propionic acid, which is made up ethylene gas, a petroleum product with calcium hydroxide. The additive is considered non-toxic, but can cause a reaction in sensitive individuals. There has been some evidence that consuming calcium propionate can cause DNA damage through breast feeding which makes it genotoxic as a food additive.

Avoid:

  • Pregnant

Modified Rice Starch

Considered a gluten-free starch, contains a high amount of starch that has been chemically modified. Modified rice starch, digest rather quickly, causing a rapid spike in blood sugar levels.

Avoid:

  • Diabetic

Potato Starch

A gluten free additive, used as thickening agent in the pizza dough. Although gluten-free, it is a very refined starch both high in calories, low in nutrients and high on the glycemic index, which can cause a spike in insulin levels.

Avoid:

  • Diabetic

Evaporated Cane Sugar (Evaporated Cane Juice)

This sugar is less-processed than brown or white sugar, but there is no guarantee as to the purification and filtration process that it goes through before it becomes evaporated.

Avoid:

  • Diabetic

Avicel

A white powdered substance that is used as a filler in pizza dough; it can be used to replace both dry and fat-based ingredients. The white powdered substance is produced from wood that has been treated chemically.

Final Notes

Dominos states, ‘depending on supplier and location there may be some variance in the information, but not in tastiness.’ ‘It’s always tasty.’ This is the case with any fast food chain or franchise; consumers should be aware that ingredients can vary slightly from store to store.

The bottom line is, “nature’s tasty little building blocks” don’t all come from nature. As the consumer it is up to you to decide what goes in your mouth. The more knowledge you have, the better choice you can make.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t really need to know all this stuff. Don’t know if its any different than Cesear’s, Pappa Johns, Frozen Store pizzas, e.g. Paul Neuman’s,etc.. or Regina Pizza from North Boston, Godfather’s….. Is frozen pizza dough from Costco, Bj’s, any better? Is is best just to buy dough and make your own better? Key is not just crust which is easy–key is sauce which is not easy to make. As a pizza gourmet, the best I have had in last 20 years, is Papa Murphy’s, which is sold fresh, and you take home & bake for 15 minutes; however, don’t know about crust, except it is the best. Unfortunately, its not here on the East Coast.

  2. HEEEEEEEYYYYYYYY

    Thank you so much for writing this article. Really helped my vegan lifestyle, although my healthy lifestyle is not improving that much still xD.

    Thank you again, its very helpful.

    All the best

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